Transsexual and Latina, Daniela Vega marks a milestone in the Oscars’ tradition
This Latina actress went from the Chilean "underground" to be the first transsexual person to be a presenter at the annual gala of the American Academy.
Born as David Andrés Vega Hernández, Daniela is a Chilean actress and lyric singer who has broken with the schemes of one of the most conservative societies in Latin America, to become an icon of inclusion and representation of those who still don’t have a loud voice in the debate.
After having started her gender transition at age 15, Daniela turned to the life of a stylist while flirting with the artistic environment of Santiago in productions such as La Mujer mariposa, biodrama de una transfiguración by Martín de la Parra. But it was her participation in the video clip of the song "María" by the popular singer Manuel García what would make her stand out in the local industry, following in the footsteps of Chilean historical transgressors such as Pedro Lemebel, Nicanor Parra, and even Alejandro Jodorowsky.
"You learn and grow from pain," said the interpreter to the Spanish newspaper El País while promoting the film that would take her to the top, A fantastic woman directed by Sebastian Lelio. "Transsexuals are marginal beings. You suffer a lot in the transition. And that pain makes us strong, tough and even leads to bad character."
As the newspaper recalled, "it was a stroke of luck, fate or chance, which led the director to her when he began to study the characters" for the film. Finally, and because of her proximity to the story, Vega would become the star of the film that last Sunday not only won the award for best foreign film but allowed the actress to stand in front of the glamorous audience of the Academy and be the first transsexual woman in being a presenter.
"I want to invite you to open your hearts and your feelings, and feel the reality, feel the love. Can you feel it?” She said to the audience.
Apparently, the public is more than prepared to feel it.
As the director explained, "there has been a kind of virtuous spiral in the appreciation of the film, in the issues it addresses, in the historical, cultural, social moment that we are going through," he told El País during an interview. "All this happened while we were writing the movie. And while we were doing it the world has taken a 180-degree turn."
And what better way to prove it than through the voice of a Latino actress who represents imminent change even in the face of the most regressive policies.